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8/6/13 7:59 PM 


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LGBT Ministry and Advocacy in tlie UCC 

Southeast Conference 


E a s 

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GodVs Extravagant Welcome 

Churchwide Consultation on the Future of LGBT Ministry and 
Advocacy in the UCC 


The UCC Coalition for LGBT Concerns and tine UCC's Office for Health and Wholeness 
Advocacy have launched The Churchwide Consultation on the Future of LGBT 
Ministry and Advocacy. The Consultation is meant to be a listening project that 
takes place in as many setting of the UCC as possible. We are interested in hearing 
from any and all churches regardless of ONA status and encourage as many as 
possible to participate. Racial/ethnic meetings, youth and young adult gatherings, 
clergy clusters and annual Conference/ Association meetings are also excellent 
venues for this conversation. 

Why: We know that no one voice can speak for all parts of our mutual ministry. In 
order to develop strategy, program and to foster deeper understanding in the 
various settings of our denomination, we must listen to one another. Our project is 
an attempt to hear the wisdom of many different voices to collectively form a vision 
for the future of LGBT Ministry and Advocacy. 

Who: People within and among our various settings of the United Church of Christ. 

What: The Consultation is a focus group or conversation hosted in churches, 
seminaries, clergy groups. Associations and Conferences. Diversity of settings are a 
goal. The constant is that all groups will be asked the same questions. 

How to get involved: Once you've decided to participate. Select a venue, choose a 
facilitator, the facilitator registers to participate in a webinar training, host the 
conversation, record your responses, send in the data. 

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Breaking News from SECUCC 8/6/13 7:59 PM 

To get involved contact the Consultation Coordinator: Rev. Tara Wilkins, 
consultation@ucccoalition. , 503-484-3609. 

Pathways- A Sojourners' Community E S EZl 

PATHWAYS: A Sojourners' Community 

by Sarah Kim 

Tine second coiiort of PATHWAYS participants gatliered togetiier on tine last weekend of October for tine first 
course in tine Level 1 program — Self and Community in Context. The retreat was facilitated by the Rev. Dr. Sarah 
Kim and Ms. Andrea Mai, with 11 participants from Nashville, Knoxville, and Atlanta. Over the period of two days, 
the group explored the notions of "self" and "community" and their contexts, which are defined by each 
individual's narrative of his or her life journey. 

In the end, the group created a brand-new community of fellow learners, a gathering of sojourners with like 
minds, concerns, and aspirations. The remarkable aspect of our time together had to do with everyone's 
openness to share with honesty and enthusiasm and to listen with open hearts and compassion. We learned not 
only the theories about self and community, but practiced "being ourselves" and "becoming a community." Below 
are the comments made by some of the participants as they reflected on their group experience: 

7 want to expand my knowledge to the limit and take it and use it to the good of people like myself that has 
needed it, needed the help, and needed the guidance. " 

"The strongest impression that has stayed with me is the sense of being in the right place at the right time 
with the right group of people. My mantra during our prayer times was 'God in me, me in the world. ' I will 
carry this mantra with me throughout the PATHWAYS journey." 

"We were able to open up to each other and form a viable and vibrant community. It's amazing to me that 
we have come to this place and time in each of our lives at exactly this moment .... has to be a 'God thing. '" 

"When I consider how I want to be in the world, I want to be more sensitive, compassionate, and responsive 
toward all people. The depth of the sharing between strangers reminded me of our commonality. It is far 
easier to dwell on our differences. It helped me remember that an open heart is very inviting!" 

"I don't understand how people can grow in their understanding of religion when there is no community to 
support and challenge them. This group, I believe, will do that. " 

"I met ten people who are searching for a closer relationship with God; people who are filled with 
excitement for the journey, and unafraid. I met ten people who are willing to stretch their minds, to question, 
to doubt — to clarify. ""I love the people, and the heartwarming stories that were shared along with the 
laughter and tears are footprints planted in my soul. The presence of God and my classmates helped me 
reaffirm my calling." 

The group was much greater than the sum of its parts, I believe, because the Divine Presence was moving and 
working in our midst. I pray that we continue to carry this momentum of love for the community and the zeal for 
learning throughout our PATHWAYS experience. 

Latest News 

LGBT Ministry and Advocacy in the UCC 
Pathways- A Soiourners' Community 

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Breaking News from SECUCC 

8/6/13 7:59 PM 

Conference News - February 2013 
Local Church News - February 2013 
Lifting Up... February 2013 


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